Menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s reproductive life that usually takes place at around age 51. Menopause — which marks the end of menstruation and fertility — is preceded by a stage that can last 10 years or more, called perimenopause.
During perimenopause, your hormones shift into lower gear. Gradually these changes reduce your fertility and may cause uncomfortable symptoms.
But whether you’re in perimenopause, menopause, or beyond, the changes in your hormones don’t have to change how you feel or function. In other words, the classic symptoms of menopause that could make your life uncomfortable — such as hot flashes and night sweats — aren’t inevitable.
At OBGYN Care in Houston, Texas, Sharon Smith, MD, helps you navigate menopause with comfort and ease. If you’re heading toward the end of fertility — or you’re there already — and want to know more about how to be free of symptoms, read on.
All of the classic symptoms of perimenopause and menopause — including hot flashes — are the result of lower hormone levels.
Mother Nature believes you no longer need as much estrogen and progesterone as you once did, because you aren’t going to produce viable eggs that can be fertilized and grow into an embryo and, eventually, a baby.
But Mother Nature didn’t plan for extended lifespans that lead many women to spend a significant portion of their lifetimes in menopause. The hormones that triggered the release and maturity of eggs are also responsible for keeping your:
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) restores your hormonal balance to avoid the downsides of menopause, such as bone loss, hair loss, and painful sex.
BHRT differs from traditional HRT because it synthesizes plant hormones to identically mimic the chemical structure of your own natural hormones.
When you’re on BHRT, you don’t experience a severe drop in estrogen that causes your blood vessels to dilate suddenly, bringing on hot flashes and night sweats. Once the night sweats and hot flashes are gone, you have:
BHRT is also perfectly safe to use, even in the long term. Traditional HRT got a bad rap because of flawed studies on older women when the technology first evolved.
Today’s BHRT doesn’t increase your risk for disease. In fact, BHRT protects you from age-related diseases such as osteoporosis and cognitive decline.
Hot flashes can make you turn red and soak through your clothes, sending you heading to the bathroom for relief. Not only is this an uncomfortable state, it can be embarrassing if it takes place at work or at a social occasion.
Another benefit of BHRT is that it improves the strength and function of your bladder, so you’re less likely to leak urine when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
About 8 out of 10 women experience hot flashes without BHRT. They can last for years. Although you can’t avoid them, you can reduce their severity by making lifestyle changes such as eating fresh, healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise, and avoiding triggers such as:
You might also look into a cooling pad for your mattress. Dress in layers so you can quickly remove excess clothing if you feel a hot flash coming on.
Even if you decide not to go the BHRT route, we can still help you control hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. For instance, we may prescribe medications or supplements that help keep your hormones stable.
We may also recommend the O-Shot® to revitalize your genitoruinary system to improve incontinence and improve sexual response.
Don’t accept hot flashes as your inevitable present or future. Get relief with BHRT or other therapies by contacting our Houston, Texas, office today by phone or online form.